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1 week ago

What's easy, what's hard — and what's right


Are we being ourselves online? Or are we allowing a lesser version to pollute what is the world's greatest tool — an instant way to bring us all together in countless ways.

It's been a long, insane week. And it's a working weekend, as you could probably guess. And maybe we all could spend a little more time away from the keyboard. But there's one thing we need to talk about.

What the hell is wrong with us all? When did we forget that we're all here for the same reason? And I'm not just talking about Android Central, and all of that nerd stuff that brings us together. I'm a bigger fan of the internet at large. I was first exposed to the early stages of it in the early '90s in middle school, before web browsers (and websites) really existed, and we'd occasionally chat with other schools, or check out some early BBS action.

We also did some logic stuff, and played around with BASIC and LOGO. One of the first lessons you'd learn about programming was, of course, "Garbage in, garbage out." That's still true today. Probably even more so. And when I ask myself why we allow forums and comments to turn so negative so quickly, I remind myself of that line. What kind of discussion do I want to have? And in what way am I contributing to it? Am I helping to make it a better place? Or just contributing to the noise?

It's that simple. It's not about percentages of readers or millions of Pokémon Go players. It's about being civil to each other.

We all go through this every now and then. And I think the current state of the country, and the world — and the high signal-to-noise ratio of the "news" and social media — tend to make it far too easy to go negative. But, again, that's easy. Hope and optimism and changing for the better — or just remembering to be better — can be hard. But often what's challenging is also what's right. So I'm taking a deep breath. I'm going to slow down and remind myself to think. And I'm not going to contribute to the noise.

And with that ... A few thoughts about things:

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1 week ago

Mobile Nations Weekly: Pokéworld


It's a Pokémon Go world and we're just living in it.

The Pokémon Go craze continues. There's no denying the game's popularity. It's become one of the most popular mobile games in the world, if not the most popular. Ever. People are going nuts for it. You probably know somebody who has. Maybe you are that somebody. It's okay, we're here to help.

But... there are things other than Pokémon happening in the mobile tech world.

We've got word of when the new Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will be announced (that'd be August 2nd) and rising competitor Huawei outed their new Honor 8 in China

Microsoft's next huge Windows 10 update — the Windows 10 Anniversary Update — is almost ready for a full public release. Anniversary Update is bringing a bunch of changes for both PC and Phone, the neatest of which are some new advanced pen features.

Tesla's most expensive vehicle also got a little less expensive: the new Model X 60D starts at $74,000 — or $66,500 after federal tax credits. Its 60kWh battery pack is actually a 75kWh pack that's been software-limited — but you can unlock the full capacity for a fee. And the Tesla Autopilot safety controversy continues, with calls for it to be disabled and ongoing resistance from Tesla.

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1 week ago

A Nexus 5X from Project Fi is the best $199 Android phone you can get

Nexus 5X

Sometimes it's better to find the right deal than go straight to a "cheap" phone.

A few weeks ago, my mother's scratched, cracked and generally destroyed Moto X 2014 finally gave up the ghost — the screen turned off, and it wasn't coming back on again. Being that she bought it at a discount already, it wasn't worth paying upwards of $150 to have the screen replaced. Instead, she sent me looking for the best phone for her around $200. It had to be relatively compact, have simple software she was familiar with and work on T-Mobile.

I thought about maybe what T-Mobile could offer in its prepaid store. I looked around eBay and deals sites for refurbished phones. I considered "budget" offerings like the Moto G4 and Honor 5X ... and then I realized the best phone for the money was right under my nose: I could buy a Nexus 5X from Project Fi for the fantastic price of $199.

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1 week ago

How to install and set up Authy for two-factor authentication on your Chromebook


Authy is awesome if you want your two-factor authentication tokens on more than one phone. But it's not just for phones — it's great on your Chromebook, too!

We've talked about using Authy for two-factor authentication when you need your tokens on multiple devices, and how to get things all set up on your Android. If you've got a Chromebook, you'll also want to install the Authy extension. It's a minimal piece of software that only does exactly what it needs to do — fetch you a 2Fa token when you need it. Here's how to get it set up.

Download and install the Authy extension from the Chrome Web store. There's also an Authy Chrome app, which is recommended for Windows, Mac or Linux computers running the Chrome Browser. Either one will work, and the setup is the same. I recommend the extension for a Chromebook instead of a new app. When the install is done, you'll see a new icon to the right of the Omni-bar. Click it (or tap it) to open the extension window.

The setup screen will open. Authy needs to verify and authorize a new device on your account. Verifying everything is super-easy if you have Authy running on your phone, but you can also use an SMS message or a phone call to verify (or even set up a new account). For this article, we're going to assume you set up Authy on your phone. Because you should set up Authy on your phone. Just set up Authy on your phone, dammit.

Anyhoo, enter the phone number you have registered with Authy and click the button that says you're going to use another device to verify things. Now grab your phone, and check your notifications. You'll have one from the Authy app that says another device is asking for approval. Tap the notification (and enter your PIN for Authy if you set one up) and you can verify your Chromebook with a tap. You need to use 2Fa to set up Authy on a new device, but don't worry. You'll not need to do this again.

When things are done and you're approved, you'll see a list of the accounts you have in Authy. You'll also notice that you have a notification on the settings icon. Let's fix that setting first.

When you open the settings, you'll see Authy asking you to set up a master password for the extension. You'll need to supply this password every time you open Authy. You don't have to protect your Authy accounts on your Chromebook, but with no password, anyone can open the app and get a 2Fa token. I suggest you password protect Authy on your Chromebook. It's a minor inconvenience for an app you'll not need to open very often. But it's your call. I'll pretend everyone reading is going to protect the Authy app.

We're almost done. When you go back to the Authy window, you'll see a lock icon next to each account on your list. That's because you enabled encryption on your backups. You'll need to supply the encryption password to sync with your Authy account. To do that just tap the lock icon and enter the same password you used on your phone when you set Authy up.

And now you're done.

The next time you need to supply a 2Fa token on the web (or anywhere) you won't have to grab your phone. Click any account in the list and you'll get your token, with a handy button to copy it to the clipboard.

Your next step to protect your privacy is to add a USB Security key (or two) to your Google account so you always have a way in. Stay safe!

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2 weeks ago

Google has reportedly scrapped plans to launch high-end VR headset


According to a new report, Google has scrapped its plans to release a high-end VR headset that would have competed with others like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The project, which was building hardware and another operating system, reportedly had around 50 people working on it and was scratched in favor of just using Android. Back at Google I/O the company revealed DayDream, which is a VR platform that is already built on top of the upcoming version of Android, Nougat.

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2 weeks ago

Amazon Echo now able to recap National Convention results and more


Amazon is back with another set of new features for the Echo, this time bringing more political information to the smart speaker and some Hamilton related features. With the National Conventions rapidly approaching, the Echo will now be able to keep you up to date with poll data and tap into daily politics brief. You'll be able to ask questions like "Alexa, ask WaPo Elections for the polls" or "Alexa, ask WaPo Elections for the Politics Brief" to find out more about what is going on.

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2 weeks ago

This tiny accessory will make your USB Type-C transition way less painful


They're not expensive, but it would be a good idea for more companies to bundle this USB Type-C adapter in the box.

I received the new ZTE Axon 7 in the mail yesterday, and promptly unboxed it. (You can watch it over on our Facebook page if you haven't already.) The phone itself is a known quantity: powerful, sleek, and unlocked, all for $399. We'll have a review up shortly.

Inside the box, though, is something I didn't expect to be as useful as it has proven over the past 24 hours: a USB Type-C to Micro-USB adapter, which makes it easy to use all of those legacy cables I have configured around my house.

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2 weeks ago

How to connect a USB flash drive to your Android phone

How to connect a USB flash storage device to your Android phone

How do I connect a USB flash storage device to my Android phone?

Say you're going to a party and your friends have asked you to play amateur DJ. Your phone has some music on it, but there's so much more on your thumb drive or external solid state drive. You don't want to bring an entire laptop to the party! Why not hook it up to your phone?

Another scenario: you're going on a long road trip or flight and you can't imagine anything better than watching movies the whole time. Problem is, you can't fit them all on the internal or removable storage on your Android phone. Bring your flash drive! It's full of movies!

Connecting a USB flash storage device to your Android phone is cheap and easy. Let's find out what you need and, finally, how to get everything connected and safely disconnected again.

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2 weeks ago

Android Central 297: Ze Moto Droid


Audio-only stream below

What happens when we give Phil Nickinson and Michael Fisher 30 minutes to rap about the latest news on the upcoming Moto Z? This. This is what happens. We warned you. Or we should have warned you.

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2 weeks ago

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now available on Netflix in Canada


Netflix-using Star Wars fans in Canada, rejoice! Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now available on the streaming service in your country, and you can start streaming the latest entry in the saga right away.

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2 weeks ago

What I'm using: LD West smartphone holster


My phones don't fit in my pockets.

I'm not talking about an Galaxy S7 Edge or a Nexus 6P, either. My HTC 10 does not fit comfortably in my front pockets. My Nexus 5X does not fit comfortably in my front pockets. And when I go look for other jeans, short of baggy cargo pants or a few jumpsuits, they don't fit well in those pockets either. And that's a problem, because I, like so many of us, spend just about every waking moment with my phone on me. I might not be using it every moment, but I need it on me as I walk around my apartment or around my TV station.

And now, doing that is about five times easier thanks to a gadget I never would've considered a year ago: the LD West smartphone and wallet holster.

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2 weeks ago

Yelp gets in on the Pokémon Go action with its own PokéStop filter


Yelp just got a little more helpful to all of your Pokémon trainers out there. The service will now let you know which restaurants have Pokémon Go PokéStops nearby. The new capability is part of Yelp's filter options.

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2 weeks ago

Amazon Video now lets you download TV and movies to your SD card


Amazon has updated its Video app for Android, making it easier for customers to take their favorite movies and TV shows with them wherever they go. Customers can now download videos to their SD cards, giving them more flexibility for offline viewing.

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2 weeks ago

Kyocera's Hydro Shore is a waterproof phone for the budget crowd


Kyocera has announced the Hydro Shore, a budget-friendly waterproof phone available for AT&T's GoPhone pre-paid service.

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2 weeks ago

How to free up storage space on Android

OnePlus 3 storage

How do I free up space on my Android phone?

There are a couple of super simple, straightforward ways to instantly give you more room for music, apps, photos, and more.

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